Authors: Katherine Messer, Ann C. Wilkie
Faculty Mentor: Ann C. Wilkie
College: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
According to the most recent Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, landfills are the third-largest contributors of methane emissions, largely due to decomposing organic matter. These organic wastes and carbon-based materials can be recycled and turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment by composting. By diverting organic waste from landfills, composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on commercial fertilizers. A 2014 National Waste & Recycling Association survey found that 72% of Americans do not compost their food waste and 62% would not support an increase in the cost of their waste and recycling service. This project’s purpose was to identify trends, if any, in people’s perception of climate change and their involvement in composting and gardening. This relationship was quantified using a Qualtrics survey and delivered to UF and Santa Fe Students using social media platforms, Facebook and GroupMe. The survey questions were categorized into three groups: demographics, knowledge of climate change, and perception of composting. It was anticipated that participants exposed to a community centered on sustainable living were more likely to engage in practices like composting. Further analysis of this data can be used to strategically expand community gardens and foster a culture of waste reduction.